The Analytical Laboratory Awards

2018 Analytical Laboratory Results

Once again, we’d like to thank everyone who voted in our annual poll on the previous year’s issues. Your votes help your favorite writers and artists by rewarding them directly and concretely for outstanding work. They help you by giving us a better feel for what you like and don’t like—which helps us know what to give you in the future.

We have six categories: novellas, novelettes, short stories, fact articles, poems, and covers. In each category, we asked you to list your three favorite items, in descending order of preference. Each first place vote counts as three points, second place two, and third place one. The total number of points for each item is divided by the maximum it could have received (if everyone had ranked it 1) and multiplied by 10. The result is the score listed below, on a scale of 0 (nobody voted for it) to 10 (everybody ranked it first). In practice, scores run lower in categories with many entries than in those with only a few. For comparison, the number in parentheses at the head of each category is the average for that category.


  1. “The Last Biker Gang,” Wil McCarthy (4.21)

  2. “Harry and the Lewises,” Edward M. Lerner (3.90)

  3. “A Stab of the Knife,” Adam-Troy Castro (3.38)


  1. “Ashes of Exploding Suns, Monuments to Dust,” Christopher McKitterick (1.69)

  2. “Empress of Starlight,” G. David Nordley (1.64)

  3. “Left To Take the Lead,” Marissa Lingen (1.54)

  4. “Lab B-15,” Nick Wolven (1.23)

  5. “Endless City,” David Gerrold (1.18)



  1. “The Unnecessary Parts of the Story” Adam-Troy Castro (1.23)

  2. “The Willing Body, the Reluctant Heart,” Marie Vibbert (1.03)

  3. “Home on the Free Range,” Holly Schofield (0.87)

  4. “Razzibot,” Rich Larson (.082)

  5. (tie). “Finding Their Footing,” Marissa Lingen (0.77)

    (tie). “A Measure of Love,” C. Stuart Hardwick (0.77)


  1. “In Defense of the Planet,” Marianne Dyson (3.08)

  2. “Hell Is Other Planets,” Julie Novakova (2.92)

  3. “Alien Biochemistry,” Jay Werkheister (2.62)

POETRY (0.98)

  1. “Venus, as It Might Have Been” Mary Soon Lee (2.31)

  2. “Atomic Numbers,” D. A. Xiaolin Spires (2.26)

  3. “Wife of a Particle Physicist,” Bruce Boston (1.54)

  4. “Past Pluto,” Eric Pinder (1.13)

  5. “Collisions,” Kathryn Fritz (0.97)

COVER (2.27)

  1. March/April, by Donato Giancola (3.64)

  2. May/June, by Fred Gambino (3.54)

  3. November/December, by Eldar Zakirov (2.92)

A brief(ish) note: you may notice that we’re handling a couple of the categories a little bit differently this year: there are some cases where we don’t typically see more than one of each sort of piece per issue, so it makes things a little silly at the end of the year when you’re listing the top five . . . out of six. This year wound up being a little light on Novellas (though we’ll be addressing that in the future—without swinging the pendumum too far in the other direction, one hopes); we don’t regularly have two full fact articles in an issue; and we certainly don’t have two covers per issue, so even though we’ll be tabulating the results the same way (and you’ll be voting the same way) we’ll only list the top three entries in the categories where it makes sense (again: it mostly applies to fact articles and covers), and that may change from year to year. On to the results!

I’m pleasantly surprised to see Wil McCarthy’s “The Last Biker Gang” take first place in Novella— his “Wyatt Earp 2.0” narrowly missed the top spot in 2017. He’s not a prolific contributor, but when he has something, you know it’s going to be good.

The win for “Ashes of Exploding Suns, Monuments to Dust” by Christopher McKitterick (and the very high placement of “Empress of Starlight” by G. David Nordley) is as sure a sign as any that “hard space opera” with big ideas on a grand scale goes over well with readers.

As always, the Short Story category is hyper-competitive, so I’m not surprised to see honed AnLab gladiator Adam-Troy Castro do well there (and with a horror story no less!) but the overall variety of tone and subject matter of the stories that round out the top five is gratifying.

I’m proud of all of our fact articles, however they ranked—they were all teriffic (I wish I could take credit for having planned the titles of the top two like that, but alas), and Marianne Dyson’s especially so.

Our winning poem, “Venus, as It Might Have Been” by Mary Soon Lee, evokes a nostalgic optimism and joy of discovery—with an alternate history of space exploration. Our finalists embody the Analog spark as well, taking us from the microscopic, with the periodic chart and particle physics, to the cosmic, with planetary bodies and their places in the Universe. —EH, Poetry Editor.

Since AnLab votes are so important in encouraging authors and artists to do their best work, and to giving you the kind of magazine you most like to read, we hope to see even more next year. Use our online ballot, e-mail, or “snail mail”! (Remember to be careful to vote in the right category, as listed in the annual index. Sometimes a few votes are wasted by being cast in the wrong category, and those simply can’t be counted. Using our online ballot makes this much less likely.)


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